When our good friends at MobiCity let us know the Optimus 2X was available for review, I jumped at the chance. Being one of the only Dual-Core handset currently available — the Atrix being the other one — I just had to review it. However, in all the excitement, I was let down. Let’s jump in and see why.

Pros

  • Fast and fluent
  • Good construction
  • Feels very nice in the hand
  • Great Camera
  • In built screenshot function

Cons

  • Android 2.2
  • LG Skin/Launcher
  • Restarts everyday
  • Frequent “Force Closes”

Like I said earlier, I was very excited to get the 2X and start playing with it. Being a Dual-Core handset, I wanted to see what the actual speed improvements where from my Desire HD, with its single core 1GHz processor and can I say, the improvements were awesome.

We will however, get to the hardware later, for now, let’s get on with the chassis and build quality.

Build and physical aspects

The Optimus 2X, in my opinion, is a gorgeous handset: its sturdy, feels good and not cheap. It’s also quite thin. It feels really nice in the hand, it is quite narrow though. It’s about as tall as my Desire HD but much narrower — this lends to the smaller screen being used.

The buttons have a very nice feel to them: easier to press with a nice “click”. The Sleep/Wake button is on the top right side of the handset — different to my Desire HD. It’s a much better location than the left. In the top, along with the Seep/Wake button, is the standard 3.5 mm stereo jack for audio and also the mini HDMI port.

On the bottom, it’s very iPhone-like, two speakers (though I believe one is a microphone) and the MicroUSB connector between them. The 2X also sports a front-facing camera and of course the 8MP on the back. On to the back cover, even though the back cover is plastic — like most of the handsets these days — it certainly doesn’t feel as fragile or cheap as the Xperia Play back cover. It also sports a nice brushed metal strip that runs from the cover, through the middle with the “with Google” insignia inscribed on it.

My pet hate has re-emerged with the 2X:  button placement. This time the Menu and Home have been switched, leaving the order as: Menu, Home, Back, Search. Maybe one day my dream will happen of a uniform button placement on Android handsets, until then, I’ll just have to live with it.

Hardware

As said before, the 2X gets its name from the Dual-Core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor it has jammed inside. It’s also the first smartphone to ever ship with the Tegra 2. Coupled with 512MB RAM and 8GB of internal storage and up to 32GB MicroSD storage,  it has a lot of room.

The 4.0″ screen comes in at the standard 480×800 and does look very nice, and also is quite easy to see in direct sunlight. It’s slightly better then my Desire HD but still nowhere near the Xperia Play I reviewed last. All in all the 2X packs a serious punch, and it shows.

The 2X pulls some serious numbers in both Quadrant and NeoCore, shelling out an impressive 2181 and 76.9 FPS respectively, that really goes to show both the power of the Tegra 2 and also Dual-Core in general, and with being the first real run of Dual-Core chips out there, I can’t wait to see what kind of things they can get from the next generation chipsets.

The Camera is really nice; the software is customised and hasn’t been left to just the stock Android. It’s got settings a plenty, too many to really mention here, but my favourite would have to be Continuous Shot, which take around 5 photos in quick succession with one press. The shinning jewel in this handsets crown, other than the Tegra 2, is the 1080p video recording and playback. The 1080p video recording really is spot on — it’s smooth and fluent, doesn’t come off jerky or any of that really bad jelly vision kind of effect. Playback is also the same — it looks great and doesn’t jump or pause. If you after something with an awesome camera and great video, the 2X is definitely one to take a look at. The front camera is just a standard 1.3mp shooter. Nothing special

Battery life on the 2X is just what you would expect from a first gen Dual-Core handset. It chews the juice. I would have to charge the phone at about 8-9PM after taking the phone off charge at about 7:30AM. My day would include the usual usage for me: an hour of music playback, 4-5 calls, average of 2 to 5 minutes in length, 30-50 SMS, three Gmail accounts with push notifications and the normal 1 min Twitter refresh.

This doesn’t sound too bad, until you consider that the LG 2X has a 1500mAh battery, and the Desire HD has a 1230mAh battery, and the Desire HD has better battery life in the same conditions.

Software

The software on the 2X is my biggest disappointment with the phone.

For starters it only runs Android 2.2 with LG not specific about when/if the 2X will receive an update to Android 2.3.

Next on the list of woe – the skin and launcher are pretty ordinary, and the keyboard doesn’t even default to a portrait QWERTY. Instead, they’ve decided to give you the LG Keypad keyboard as default and makes you either rotate the phone to landscape mode to unlock the QWERTY or manual change the keyboard type in the settings.

Even then the QWERTY keyboard LG give you isn’t very nice — let’s hope they don’t stuff around with the keyboard when (if?) the Gingerbread update comes. The keyboard aside (as it can be replaced by a free Market download) , it’s hard to look past LG’s use of their own skin. The launcher is extremely reminiscent of the Galaxy S, with the standard Phone, Contacts, Messaging, Applications icons in the “Dock”, in my opinion, very unoriginal. It looks like they’re trying to clone an iPhone layout…

The Messaging app is also very Galaxy S like with its text bubble colours using a bright blue as one half of the conversation. It just gives it a very cartoonish kinda feel, which frankly, I don’t like. The Contacts app is pretty much stock Android, just with a few more colour highlights here and there, the App Drawer is the same as in the Optimus One and i would assume, the Optimus range as a whole, not much to report there. One little thing that is a major inclusion is the ability to be able to take screenshots without rooting the device or using the Android SDK, simply press the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons together and a screenshot is taken. Marvelous, just marvelous.

Other then not really looking all that great or even giving you the proper keyboard to start with, the actual LG skin just doesn’t work very well at all.

I’ve had the handset turn off randomly, most of the time when it’s in sleep mode, at least once a day. It will be in my pocket and I will hear the LG start-up tune, pull the phone out and it’s restarting. That’s not very good. I’ve also had instances where the handset has lagged quite a bit, and or it’s presented me with a black screen and I have to hit the “back” key and touch the app icon again. This to me seems weird for a handset that packs a Dual-Core processor. It also “force closes” on my favourite apps that work perfectly fine on my Desire HD.

This, despite the HD having been flashed with CM7, Rooted, custom splash and boot up screens and has been hacked to the hilt, yet the stock as a rock LG seems to crap itself every five seconds. That’s not good for a handset that is the first Dual-Core for LG and also the first of many new handset coming out for the company, e.g., Black and 3D.

If they are as bad as this, in regard to software, well I just don’t know what they are going to do. This was my disappointing experience with the 2X.

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In conclusion, the 2X really has a lot going for it: the hardware is fantastic, it’s quick and very snappy, the camera has all the right things going for it and it’s a well designed, well constructed handset.

It’s just a huge shame that LG cannot get their software right.

It has far too many bugs and doesn’t run the latest version of Android yet, with LG opting for FroYo (2.2) instead of the much better Gingerbread (2.3). It seems strange to me, that even now, LG can’t seem to get the software right on their handsets. I just hope the Black and 3D don’t suffer from the same issues. It does beg the question — why did the networks decide not to take the handset? Was it because the Black and 3D showed more promise, or was it that the 2X really didn’t come through carrier testing very well?

This is probably something we will never know, but in a way I’m glad I got to review this handset, as much as I didn’t like it, and found it horrible to use, software wise, the hardware is really good, and it shows promise in what manufactures are doing with Dual-Core.

Overall, if your after a new handset and you want Dual-Core, I would wait. The 2X is not yet ready for prime-time and fingers crossed the update to Gingerbread will fix it right up, and it can stand alone on the Dual-Core hill, along with the Atrix anyway or…. Till the Galaxy S 2 and the Sensation hit the ground. Can it survive then? Not in my opinion.



  • http://twitter.com/Jammerizer Jojo Cromo

    Just read on Engadget that LG is preparing an update which will fix the issues.

  • Cooper
  • Cooper

    This is ausdroid yet you are reviewing handsets imported and not local stock? I bought my 2X from Harvey Norman and it doesn’t exhibit the issues you are having like the keyboard is default LG QWERTY which is pretty good and can be changed easily to any keyboard but out of the box it’s not the LG Keypad one that your unit has.

    “The launcher is extremely reminiscent of the Galaxy S, with the standard Phone, Contacts, Messaging, Applications icons in the “Dock”, in my opinion, very unoriginal.”

    If anything this just shows your bias towards other manufacturers – LG was one of the first to produce a touchscreen phone and if you look at their original design on the KE850 Prada it was one of the first to use such a launcher design, which continues on the 2X hardly ‘unoriginal’

    Prada
    http://dailymobile.se/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/lg-prada2-01.jpg

    2X
    http://www.lg-phones.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/LG_Optimus_2X1.jpg

    “The Contacts app is pretty much stock Android, just with a few more colour highlights here and there, the App Drawer is the same as in the Optimus One and i would assume, the Optimus range as a whole, not much to report there.”

    The contacts app doesn’t look like stock android, it integrates Facebook status updates, history and photos in tabs.

    The App drawer is different to optimus one and a major change is the ability to change the style to horizontal grid like iphone/galaxy S, vertical grid (with categories) and List view with alphabetically sorts the apps and adds a slider on the side like in contacts list – perhaps your review should mention these? It’s also one of the fastest app drawers i’ve ever used on a phone with instant response.

    @JeniSkunk “The new LG app dock is crud in comparison to what’s on the O1, with no dedicated app drawer button and no ability to change apps on the dock. ”

    There is a dedicated app drawer button as said with extra viewing options added and you can change the apps on the dock just like Optimus One.

    It’s been a good solid handset for me so far, sure some users are reporting issues but maybe the Australian stock is better? I would have sent the unit you have back instead of doing a review on what could be a faulty unit.

    Comparing to a CM7 DHD to a stock ROM is quite unfair – there is a lot of support for the 2X through Modaco, Cyanogen and this is still very early days and will only get better and i’m glad to be along for the ride.

    The Galaxy S had a number of issues with GPS fix, file system lag etc that all got resolved over time as well and i have no doubt that this handset has so much room to grow and meet it’s full potential. As said the hardware is top notch.

    “with LG opting for FroYo (2.2) instead of the much better Gingerbread (2.3)”

    Please tell me what is ‘much better’ on 2.3?

    2.3 hardly brings any major improvements certainly not worthy of ‘much better’. The infatuation with Android users to always have the latest and greatest can be over the top sometimes, 2.2 does the job fine and 2.3 is coming.

  • Phil

    I‘ve had a my optimus 2x for a month now and I‘m loving it. I really like the keyboard, my better than my old HTC desire. I‘ve only had one reboot that I‘ve noticed, I to get the occasional bit of lag, but I had more lag on my desire. I love how the phone boots really quick, and has nice gryo feature of tapping the side of the phone to move the cursor. The browser is super fast and I quite like screen. I haven‘t noticed any of the bugs that people write about.

    I definite can recommend Optus x2

  • Damien Micallef

    Found this article over at Phandroid.  Looks like Lucas wasn’t the only one experiencing random rebooting issues. http://phandroid.com/2011/05/16/lg-optimus-2x-firmware-upgrade-rolling-out-to-europe-to-fix-random-reboots/http://phandroid.com/2011/05/16/lg-optimus-2x-firmware-upgrade-rolling-out-to-europe-to-fix-random-reboots/

  • Andyroid

    I question your phone reviewing competance, or whether you set out from the start to slam LG’s handset. The comparisons to your CM7 Desire HD are just annoying as I read through.

    The LG portrait qwerty keyboard is an option you can select in keyboard options. There is also the option to use the stock android froyo keyboard.

    LG have acknowledged the phone is buggy and is releasing an update at the end of the month, with a larger update at the end of June.

    In future, perhaps you could keep your review focus on the phone itself, and be a bit more neutral to a company which at the moment is struggling to ground itself in Australia.

  • somemadcaaant

    What the seriously, reviewer should have sent back for a replacement?!

    Yeah totally agree with Cameron/Nathsgames – zero issues here also @ 1.3ghz, had the phone for 3 weeks and loving it… i’d say the reviewer got an early asian batch sample perhaps or it was shaken/damaged in some way? since mine is a V10b version out of the box and no issues with reboots, black screens, heat, lockups or what not and stock rom gave me about 2600+ Quadrant score which is also strange.

    Battery is lasting 1.5 to near 2 days of fair usage with music, charging after work on 2nd day with 15% juice left.

    Stock LG rom was also fine tho a bit low on fps on home screen ONLY, but no issues, can also get rid of stock apps/new rom so even less of a deal.

    Mobicity.com.au for $599, this phone is damn cheap for a new dual core, ridiculous value, paid

    $769 for my Desire back in the day lol.

    -smc

  • JeniSkunk

    Thanks for the review, Lucas. I was considering getting a 2X as an upgrade from my P500 Optimus One. Looks like it’ll be a case of wait and keep looking. The locations of and order of all the exterior buttons on the 2X are identical to where they are on the  O1, including the two that you specifically complain about being switched.  I agree with your sentiments regarding the 2X not shipping with Gingerbread at minimum. The new LG app dock is crud in comparison to what’s on the O1, with no dedicated app drawer button and no ability to change apps on the dock.  The lock screen looks to be LESS functional that what is on the O1. The O1 lock screen has 2 slide to center touch points. Left to centre is unlock. Right to centre is sound on/off.

  • http://ausdroid.net Lucas Burnett

     The claims I made in the review were certainly not exaggerated. The handset would restart at least once a day for no reason, it would be in stand by in my pocket and I would hear the LG startup tune, pull the phone out and it was indeed restarting. Maybe I got a lemon and maybe I didn’t but i have to review the handset based on how it performs out of the box. Not how easy it is to hack and root and throw CM7 on there. This defeats the purpose of reviewing the handset for what it is, and how the manufacturers wished it to be.

    The actual phone itself, hardware wise, was awesome, it felt really, really good in the hand, size and thinness was spot on. Software let it down though.

    Thanks for your comments everyone.

  • Extremedonkey

    Sounds like another Galaxy S. Great on paper – awesome specs, but when it comes to the crunch the software and custom UI let it down. Sure, you can hack it and install a custom ROM to fix these problems (as with Galaxy S); but its still going to yield a terrible experience for your average Joe who doesnt know or want to know how to root and flash.

  • http://twitter.com/FrAsErTaG James Fraser

     I have a G2X for sale $500 as new!! hit me up @frasertag

  • http://ps3explained.com/ Flame

    Should have used the screenshot feature to snap some pics of the GUI, launcher, etc.! 

    • http://ausdroid.net Lucas Burnett

      UI Walkthrough video should give you a quick run through of the launcher and the UI etc 

  • http://profiles.google.com/craigdurkee Craig Durkee

     Can people who have this handset tell me what they have paid for it?

    I see that Harvey Normal have it for $650, the dude also said he would do it for $570 which for a local purchase isn’t bad I thought.

  • Anonymous

    I used one yesterday. Sometimes it was really really fast. But there were a lot of bugs. I was thinking of getting it but i think ill wait to see if the gingerbread update fixes any of the issues. 

  • Cameron

    I’ve had a 2X for about a month now, and I can say the software issues reported here are highly exaggerated. The phone does come with some crap installed (Yahoo china, Facebook by LG for example) but you can very easily root this phone and pull all those off. I’ve had the phone reboot on me once since owning it, however this was at a hardware store so I could have very well given it a decent knock without realising it. I’ve never experienced any application problems as mentioned above, I would be interested in seeing what apps are causing this though.

    Also not mentioned above is the increasing progress in the hacking scene with this phone. There’s a few MaDaCo ROMs out, Cyanogen Mod has nightly support currently, with full stable builds slated for CM7.1.

    Overall I don’t understand the complaints with the software, especially mundane things like keyboards (which can be easily changed). Perhaps just a software update would fix that up?

    Oh my biggest complaint would actually be with the pathetic LG Australia and them not launching it locally at the same time as the rest of the world, and when asked about it wouldn’t give any details on when they were going to launch it, only to start selling it outright through Harvey Norman less then a month later. But that’s just crap customer service.

  • Anonymous

    I love the tag ‘disappointing’.. wish there were more articles with it.

  • Nathsgames

    80.2 on Neocore vs 54 on my wife‘s Galaxy S.

  • Nathsgames

    Shame. Seems you copped a lemon. I have never had an issue with my Optimus 2 since day one, and just love it to bits!

    I am running a modded version of MoDaCo 15, with Launcher Pro. I have to say this is the best Android I have owned to date. That’s compared to a Galaxy S, a Streak and a Desire HD.

    The new Tegra specific HD games really show off the graphics, and the 1080P videos are simply perfect on my 55“ LED TV.

    I would like a little more RAM but with some clever apps like Autokiller Memory Manager that’s not really an issue.

    I feel LG have put a competent, fast and good looking phone out there for the everyday user; and a highy customisable and powerful tool for the more adventurous.

    Running at 1.4Ghz I was able to post an astronomical 4196 on Quadrant!

  • Nathsgames

    Shame. Seems you copped a lemon. I have never had an issue with my Optimus 2 since day one, and just love it to bits!

    I am running a modded version of MoDaCo 15, with Launcher Pro. I have to say this is the best Android I have owned to date. That’s compared to a Galaxy S, a Streak and a Desire HD.

    The new Tegra specific HD games really show off the graphics, and the 1080P videos are simply perfect on my 55“ LED TV.

    I would like a little more RAM but with some clever apps like Autokiller Memory Manager that’s not really an issue.

    I feel LG have put a competent, fast and good looking phone out there for the everyday user; and a highy customisable and powerful tool for the more adventurous.

    Running at 1.4Ghz I was able to post an astronomical 4196 on Quadrant!

  • Interesting……

    If you’re into hacking you phone (like I am) then this isn’t such a bad phone. Cyanogen himself bought one so you can expect that CM7 will be promptly ported to it. There are already CM7 nightlies out.

  • Interesting……

    If you’re into hacking you phone (like I am) then this isn’t such a bad phone. Cyanogen himself bought one so you can expect that CM7 will be promptly ported to it. There are already CM7 nightlies out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=621748668 Lindsay Unfunk Freeman

     Oh, and the battery driver is thoroughly broken in the LG software – it never reports the actual battery life. You can be on 20% battery, restart and be on 50%. Or instantly charge from 50% to 75% when you plug the phone it. It’s stupid.

    • Jake Oliver

       Sounds like you need to clear your batterystats.bin file, and recalibrate your battery :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=621748668 Lindsay Unfunk Freeman

     You should mention the way the phone locks up whenever you install an app from the Market.

    Thankfully, there’s a CM7.1 build out for it which solves almost all the LG Software problems. I heart my OP2X now that it has that :)